GUJRAT: As the PML-Q and PML-N nominees looked set to win PP-32 (Gujrat) and PP-36 (Wazirabad) by-poll on Sunday night, opposition parties, mainly Sunni Ittehad Council and Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf alliance, alleged `massive rigging’.

PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali and NA Opposition Leader Umar Ayub Khan along with other party leaders reached the Jail Chowk street leading to the heavily-guarded Deputy Commissioner Complex.

As per the unofficial results from all 168 polling stations of PP-32, Chaudhary Musa Elahi of PML-Q has bagged 70,800 votes against SIC-PTI aspirant Parvez Elahi who secured 37,000 votes.

Similarly, Adnan Afzal Chatha of the PML-N was leading with clear margin the race against Fayyaz Chatha of SIC-PTI for PP-36.

Opposition alleges ‘massive rigging’in PP-32, PP-36

Opposition parties, including Jamaat-i-Islami and Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan candidates as well, criticised the Election Commission of Pakistan ECP, returning officer, local police and administration for their failure to hold transparent election.

The Kathala polling station remained the focus of all contesting parties after reports of rigging and entry denial to voters, particularly women.

PTI’s Qaisara Elahi, the wife of Parvez Elahi, along with her son Rasikh Elahi reached the Kathala Chenab polling station where she encountered her brother Wajahat Hussain of PML-Q.

The supporters of rival parties also clashed at the polling station after reports of rigging inside.

Speaking to media, Qaisara Elahi said that she could never expect such a shameful act of rigging by her own brother. PTI leader Sumaira Elahi Chohan, the youngest sister of Q chief, also reached a polling station after reports of rigging.

On being inquired by her, the presiding officer (in a video clip) said a group of men had forcibly snatched hundreds of ballot papers and put them into ballot boxes after stamping them. He said police had been informed to arrest the culprits.

The Punjab JI chief Dr Tariq Saleem and Gujrat district emir Ansar Mehmood Dhool said police and local authorities had completely facilitated the PML-Q aspirant throughout the campaign and polling.

They claimed that the police had also picked up polling agents of JI candidate Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal from Dhrowal and some other areas after they resisted tactics of stealing mandate.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2024

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